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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop
it is like to be in graduate school and what they can hope for. At the end of the summer, I help them with preparation for their final presentations and so on.
Edwin A. Chandross, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies: I want to draw attention to what I consider a critically important thing that, except for a brief mention by Karen Phillips, has been overlooked—the interview process. I have a fair amount of experience interviewing people. I did on-campus interviewing at two institutions in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for many years. I have probably done more than 500 interviews. Let me tell you, you need to help your students with it. They really are unprepared. Let me punctuate this with a brief story of a personal experience. Forty-one years ago, I turned up at Bell Labs and was asked a question for which I was totally unprepared. I think the answer got me a job at a rather demanding institution. What is the value of your Ph.D. research? Being quite young—I had just turned 24—and naive and honest, I told them the truth: there is no value in it besides getting me a degree. I would never do anything like that again. But seriously, I think that this is something that the faculty needs to spend time on with the students and help them. You can give them a leg up by having them be better prepared.
Edel Wasserman, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company: I would like to pick up on Dr. Haynes’s comment. The ACS is everywhere and can be very useful. There are 188 local sections, and student affiliate chapters exist at many colleges. These affiliates are groups that could be of use for some of the activities that Richard Weibl was addressing. It is easier to be a representative of a formal organization, when asking a faculty member to address a group, than to be an unassociated individual. The ACS has a great deal of support available within its Washington, D.C., headquarters. If you have a question on how to do something, there is almost always someone there who can provide an answer for you.
With respect to Ed Chandross’s comments, we are trying to start communication workshops, which are focused on improving the skills people need in interviews on campus. There is a good deal for students to learn there. Communicating thesis work in a largely nontechnical way to trained scientists outside one’s own field, avoiding the jargon, and yet communicating the substance can assist the interviewing process. This skill is also necessary throughout one’s career as we deal with others of varied backgrounds.